BY HANNAH MERWIN
The Garden City Public Library is continuing its efforts to renovate the Children’s Department as a part of the Library Renovation Project. In a Garden City Board of Trustees meeting on June 17, a representative from the Garden City Public Library gave a presentation on the project, which has been in the works for more than seven years. This presentation consisted of several slides outlining the $845,220 renovation plans, including floor plans and pictures of what the new Children’s Room will look like.
This renovation project began in 2012, starting as a citizen focus group. Library Chairman Randy Colahan helped continue the efforts, along with the rest of the library board and administration, to help secure the necessary funds for the project, including $145,000 in Bullet Aid between 2014-18, and a more recent grant of $200,000 in 2019.
Changes to the library will include different spaces that are aimed at children’s learning programs, such as a reading room and a workshop for STEAM related activities (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math).
The floor plan for the space includes a new front desk, new carpets and walls, specific areas designed for different age groups, flexible environments in the Workshop to focus on STEAM projects, a reading room, a parent seating area, and a new reference desk. The goal behind these renovations is to improve function, create better sight lines, provide new seating options and introduce design elements that help create a fun, inviting space for guests.
When Library Director Marianne Malagon was appointed in 2018, the project efforts were once again in full swing. Malagon helped give a “fresh eye” to the project, she said, “seeking something eye-catching and imaginative, and outside the box for a children’s section.” As the Children’s department has scarcely been updated since the library opened in 1973, these changes are a welcome change.
“This project will dramatically transform and modernize the library,” Chairman J. Randolph Colahan said.
This project is attempting to make a minimal impact upon the community, working with the village and H2M Architects and Engineers to transition into construction, while continuing to provide a functional library space for users. Along with H2M, Colahan is assisted by Malagon, village administrator Ralph Suozzi, Department Superintendent Guiseppe Giuvanniello and project architect Katie Stone.
As the project continues construction, the Children’s Department is being temporarily relocated to the library’s large meeting room on the lower level. Other changes that have already been made include Playaway Launchpads which are for grades Pre-K through 5. The launchpads include tablets with learning apps installed which provide themed, grade-leveled, subject based learning. Subjects include language arts, math, science, and more. These Launchpads are an exciting addition to the library as technology is more often used in everyday life. They provide a fun and interactive way for children to learn different kinds of skills and subjects.
The community will be updated on the progress and any changes to the library services while construction continues. Visit the library’s website at www.gardencitypl.org or call the library at 516-742-8405 to find out more information.
—Hannah Merwin is a contributing writer for Anton Media Group